People use social media so much every single day, they do it almost unconsciously. From status updates on Facebook and mentions on Twitter to posting pictures on Instagram and pinning to boards on Pinterest, social media has taken over our lives. We are addicted.
In fact, 23 percent of Facebook’s users check their account five or more times every day (Edison Research, The Social Habit, 2012)! And, 76 percent of Twitter users are now active tweeters (not just in listen-only mode), up from 47% in 2010 (Edison Research, The Social Habit, 2012).
Not only do we use social media to communicate with our family and friends, but it's also a successful platform for many types of business practices. For example, many people discover, qualify and eventually purchase all kinds of products and services from social media. According to Mediabistro, 50 percent of small businesses said they gained new customers from social media. That’s a big deal for small business. The traditional way of generating referrals can only go so far—in this new age of technology, small businesses are moving their marketing and advertising strategies online. However, it’s not enough to simply create a profile on one social media site and expect referrals to come pouring in. There needs to be a strategy in place that makes it easy for your customers to use social media avenues as a way to send you more business. Below are three ideas for leveraging social media for gaining new customers:
You Have to Wow Your Customers
The most important thing to remember when it comes to getting referrals: if your customers aren't happy, they won’t send you more business. Always go above and beyond when it comes to serving your customers. Social media makes wowing your customers much easier. Encourage your customers to communicate with you via social networks about their concerns. For example, you can create a Twitter account dedicated to customer service and support. This creates an avenue where your customers can get real-time feedback and solutions to their current issues.
Make the Ask Using Social Sites
Survey your customers using an online survey tool like Survey Monkey—they have a free basic package, as well as a select package that is $17 a month—it offers unlimited questions and responses. You can collect responses from your customers via Facebook. Use the survey to measure their satisfaction with the product or service that you offer and ask those with high ratings if they know someone who should use your product or service.
Build Informative Case Studies
Use case studies not only to outline your product or service, but to focus readers’ attention on very happy customers. You want people who are interested in your company to know who your satisfied customers are. Make sure your case studies have a personal element to them so that readers can relate, see themselves in those that are already benefiting from what your business has to offer. Feature your successful customers on all of your social networks. Also, make sure you create and keep a positive reputation on review sites like Yelp. By the end of June this year, over 30 million local reviews had been posted on Yelp, making it the leading online hub for real word-of-mouth marketing.